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HSBC is betting big on India’s 400bn pile of wealth

February 10, 2023

HSBC is betting big on India’s 400bn pile of wealth
“Roaring with national pride. Soaring with global dreams,” blared the HSBC Holdings Plc ad outside an upscale Mumbai suburb in December. The 122-foot billboard displayed a tiger stalking over the British bank’s hexagonal red logo a not-too-subtle signal of its ambitions to dominate the financial industry of what’s by some estimates now the world’s most populous country.

Those expansion plans are vital to shore up growth at Europe’s largest lender, which is grappling with a downturn in profits from the Greater China region. Shanghai and Hong Kong have been the bank’s centers of gravity since opening its doors more than 150 years ago to fund trade between Europe and Asia. But as a slowing economy and crackdowns on industries from technology to real estate roil the world’s second-largest economy, HSBC is looking further afield to India despite risks there as well.

The bank is planting its sights more firmly on the ultra-rich in India, where the wealth held by billionaires has crossed $400 billion from $148 billion in 2016. It also plans to launch an onshore private banking service in the South Asian country this year. After buying an investment business with $10.8 billion in assets under management there, it’s scouring for other selective purchases. “We certainly are always looking for bolt ons that would help us drive our capabilities further,” Surendra Rosha, co-head of Asia-Pacific at HSBC said in an interview in mid-January.

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